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Southeastern President, Sean Burrage

Southeastern President, Sean Burrage

Southeastern President, Sean Burrage

Sean Burrage, President

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On February 21, U.S. Senator James Lankford visited Southeastern for an informative session with students, faculty, and staff. We appreciate the senator taking time out of his busy schedule on a bad weather day to offer our campus community an opportunity to learn more about current events and the inner workings of our federal government.

Sen. Lankford is the latest in a long line of distinguished public officials – state, national, and even international – to set foot on the Durant campus.

As long ago as Fall 1910, William Jennings Bryan – a three-time Presidential nominee and Secretary of State and for whom Bryan County is named – spoke on the 1-year-old Southeastern campus.

In 1937, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt presented two lectures at the University as a special guest of Southeastern president Kate Galt Zaneis.

Fast forward 47 years to 1984 and former British prime minister Harold Wilson traveled to Southeastern for a speaking engagement at a Parsons Scholarship event.

Among many other notable figures making stops at Southeastern over the years: Gov. Raymond Gary, commencement speaker in 1956; Gov. Henry Bellmon, who spoke at commencement in 1964; Congressman/Speaker of the House Carl Albert, who made several appearances, speaking at Commencement on three occasions – 1957, 1965, and 1970, and dedicating the Choctaw-Chickasaw Tower residence halls in 1972; U.S. Rep. Brad Carson, 2003 commencement speaker; Former Gov. George Nigh, commencement speaker in 2004; Gov. Brad Henry, who spoke at May commencement in 2004; and Gov. and U.S. Sen. David Boren, who was the first recipient of the E.T. Dunlap Medal in 1990.

More recently, Southeastern has hosted U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin, U.S. Rep. Tom Cole (commencement speaker) U.S. Sen. James Inhofe, and Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb (commencement speaker).

In July of 2015, President Obama made a historic visit to our area – not specifically to Southeastern, but to Durant High School for the announcement of an education initiative that involved the University.

And in Fall 2016, I had the opportunity to co-teach a political science class (Campaigns & Elections), in which we had a number of elected officials – including Rep. Mullin – serve as guest lecturers.

These are just a few examples of the long list of distinguished public officials who we have been honored to host. We look forward to having many more of our state and national leaders visiting Durant in the future. All politics aside, it is important for our students and campus to have access and interaction with these decision-makers.

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